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January 25, 2013

UNC - NCSU Capsule

Basketball Preview

It's rivalry week.

For UNC that could mean a game with Duke, Maryland or in the case of this week's game, against North Carolina State,

For North Carolina State, without being too insulting, it usually means a game against North Carolina.

UNC is targeted by many. North Carolina State targets one team and usually one team only when the schedule comes out---the Tar Heels.

When you have a dynamic like that, where one team places so much importance on one game---especially when that team is coming off an embarrassing loss--- it's important that the team being zoned in on recognizes how hard the other team will be coming after them.

The game on Saturday will feature a North Carolina State team that feels like it's on the verge of something special going up against a team in North Carolina that features a lot of players going through things for the first time.

For Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Joel James it's important that veterans Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo and Dexter Strickland get in their ear and stress how important it is to take North Carolina State out of their element early.Because make no mistake about it. The Wolfpack players and all the fans packed into PNC Arena will be ready to go. If they weren't amped up and zeroed in already, they should be now after the stunning loss in Winston-Salem the other night.

N.C. State at a glance

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Nickname: Wolfpack
Colors: Red & White
Conference: ACC
Arena: PNC Center (19,700)
2011-2012 Record: 24-13 (9-7)
Last Game: L 86-84 at Wake Forest
More on the Wolfpack:
Schedule | Stats | Roster | Rivals Site | Forums

Game Preview Thoughts

Intensity

The last three games appear to have North Carolina back on track or at least going in the right direction. After staring 0-2 in conference play, the Tar Heels are on a three-game winning streak. One of the things UNC has done well during the streak is performing well in the opening minutes of their games.

Against Maryland, UNC forced the Terps to call a time-out before the game was even two minutes old.
There is zero chance the Wolfpack will come out flat against the Tar Heels. It will be up to UNC to take North Carolina State out of their game. Expect UNC Head Coach Roy Williams to pressure State's ball handler's from the opening tip.

If UNC can make North Carolina State uncomfortable it will allow them to neutralize the crowd, which will also be amped up, and take away one of the biggest advantages the Wolfpack will have coming into the game.

If UNC can't and North Carolina State can get some momentum going, things could get out of hand quickly for the young Tar Heel squad.

Pound it down low

North Carolina State made Wake Forest's Devin Thomaslook like the best big man in the nation. Thomas went for 25 points and 14 rebounds.

Against Clemson, North Carolina State allowed Devin Booker to score a career high 27 points.

North Carolina has a super-talented big in McAdoo. This is the game, if there ever was one, to focus extensively on getting McAdoo his touches. Bullock has had a hot hand recently and P.J. Hairston is coming off a great shooting night against Georgia Tech, but UNC would be missing a huge opportunity if they don't give McAdoo the chance to have a career night.

Dexter Strickland

"They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year," Strickland said to CBSSports.com before the season. "They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can't put them in the mix."

Well then.

Before the season those words spoken like Strickland, while no doubt could be classified as trash-talking, seemed to have just enough truth to them to not be seen as overly aggressive or boisterous.

But after North Carolina State knocked off Duke and UNC still had memories of big defeats against Indian, Butler and Texas, those words from Strickland began to look silly in hindsight.

It would be a safe bet to assume Strickland is at least somewhat concerned with the Wolfpack this week. N.C. State has lost two of three and aside from desperately wanting a victory to distill the notion Strickland speaks off, they also kind of need it.
Strickland leads the Tar Heels in steals to this point of the season and will be needed as a young UNC team goes into an angry hornet's nest. Now more than ever, he needs to back-up his pre-season words.

N.C. State's talented but limited roster

North Carolina (12-5, 3-2) vs. N.C. State (15-4, 4-2)

Date: Sat, Jan. 26, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Venue: PNC Arena (19,700)
TV: ESPN

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 91, XM 91)
Series: UNC leads 147-75 (including 58-44 in Raleigh and 10-3 in the PNC Arena)

2012-2013 ACC Standings

North Carolina

Head Coach - Roy Williams (270-73 at UNC; 688-174 overall)

Rankings - AP: NR, USA Today: NR, RPI: 34

Last starting line-up for North Carolina (against Georgia Tech)

F - Desmond Hubert
F - Reggie Bullock
F - James Michael McAdoo
G - Dexter Strickland

G - Marcus Paige

Stats

(Team)

Points: 78.7 PPG (14th overall)

Rebounds: 43.1 RPG (1st overall)

Assists: 18.1 APG (3rd overall)

Field goal percentage: .445 (115th overall)

(Individual)

Scoring: James Michael McAdoo (14.7 PPG) Reggie Bullock (14.3 PPG)

Rebounding: James Michael McAdoo (8.3 RPG) Reggie Bullock (5.8 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.4 APG) Dexter Strickland (4.0 APG)

N.C. State

Head Coach - Mark Gottfried (39-17 at NCSU; 317-172 overall)

Rankings - AP: 18, USA Today: 18, RPI: 17

Stats

(Team)

Points: 79.2 (9th overall)

Rebounds: 36.9 (102nd overall)

Assists: 14.9 (64th overall)

Field goal percentage: .510 (3rd overall)

(Individual)

Scoring: C.J. Leslie (15.3 PPG) Lorenzo Brown (12.3 PPG)

Rebounding: Richard Howell (10.9 RPG) C.J. Leslie (6.8 RPG)

Assists: Lorenzo Brown (6.9 APG) Rodney Purvis (1.8 APG)

Last starting line-up for Maryland (against Wake Forest)

F - Richard Howell
F - C.J. Leslie
F - Scott Wood
G - Rodney Purvis

G - Lorenzo Brown

Last Season's Meetings

January 26, 2012
Chapel Hill
74-55 UNC

February 21, 2012
86-74 UNC

March 10, 2012
69-67 UNC

N.C. State has the most talented roster in the ACC.

No team arguably in the entire Atlantic Coast Conference is as complete as the Wolfpack. Five NCSU players average in double figures in scoring. They have a playmaking point guard (Lorenzo Brown), talented big men (C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell) and talented freshmen (Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren. They also have a sharp-shooter who stretches the defense and allows his teammates to have the space they need in the paint (Scott Wood).

But N.C. State also relies heavily on six players to get the job. They have four players-Leslie, Wood, Brown and Howell--that average over 30 minutes a game and Purvis averages just under that with 29 minutes per game.

UNC, as it often does under Williams, likes to run a lot of players in and out of the game. Their bench is deeper than N.C. State's and it could prove huge dividens.

There is something called an "adrenaline dump." Basically what happens is people get so hyped up waiting for a big anticipated moment to arrive. Once that moment comes and goes there is an inevitable drain that immediately follows.

The Wolfpack have every reason to get fired up for this game as does UNC. Whichever team handles their emotions the best will be in great shape going forward in the game after the first TV timeout. Because N.C. State relies so heavily on just a few players and UNC has established a deep rotation throughout the year, the adrenaline dump will be one of the biggest factors in the game.



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